There are five primary steps you need to take when your loved one has passed away
ALERT THE RIGHT PEOPLE
MEDICAL EXAM/ PROCEDURE
FUNERAL (JANAZAH) PRAYER
Step 1: ALERT THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Depending on where your loved one died (home vs. medical facility) and under what circumstances (expected vs. unexpected), you will take a slightly different set of actions. In either case, you are looking for a medical professional to provide an official declaration of death.
Once that is provided, then depending on the specific circumstance, you can either contact a funeral home to pick up the body (Step 3) or you may need to wait until an organ donation and/or autopsy (Step 2) has been completed before moving to step 3.
Where did the death occur?
If under hospice care,
Contact your hospice care nurse/provider
They will send someone to the home to pronounce the official death
Contact your loved one’s physician
Determine whether your loved one has a DNR (what’s that?)
EMT may pronounce death at the home and/or transport the body to the hospital, where medical staff will officially pronounce death
Medical/ Assisted Living Facility
Alert Facility Staff
Someone from the medical team will officially pronounce the death
Aside from providing immediate notifications to authorities and/or healthcare professionals, there are other people and organizations that should be notified (see full list)
Step 2: ORGAN DONATION AND/OR AUTOPSY
Getting an autopsy and/or organ donation may not be applicable; however, here are some points to consider.
If your loved one was a registered organ/tissue donor or expressed in their will that they wish to be one, then the surgery team at the hospital would remove the approved organs and/or tissues based on the deceased’s wishes as well as what is medically viable at the time.
How does organ donation work, and is it allowed in Islam?
In some cases, an autopsy may be required by your state law. Particularly, when there is an unexpected death where there is no definitive cause of death, certain states and organizations (e.g., life insurance company) will require that an autopsy be conducted.
What is an autopsy and is it allowed in Islam?
Step 3: FUNERAL PREPARATION
Once the body of the deceased has been approved for release, one will need to contact a funeral service for transportation to a funeral home/ghusl facility. There, the body will be prepared for burial.
Contact Funeral Home
Contact a funeral home to set up the pickup of the body from the hospital/corner/home to be transported to a funeral home or ghusl location so that the body can be prepared for burial
Once the body has arrived, it will be cleaned and shrowded, where applicable
Most ghusuls will require several people to assist
Most local Masjid and Muslim community centers can provide a list of volunteers that can help
Transport to Prayer and/or Cemetery
Once the body has been prepared for burial, it will be transported either to a separate location (e.g., mosque, community center) for the Janazah prayers or directly to the cemetery. In the case where the body is directly transported to the cemetery, the Janazah prayer will take place at the cemetery prior to the burial
As the body is being prepared for the funeral, this may be a good time to start communicating the details around the timing of the funeral prayer and burial (How should I make this announcement?). Your funeral home director will be able to coordinate logistics, work with the cemetery operator, and ensure all legally required documentation has been completed prior to burial.
Step 4: FUNERAL (JANAZAH) PRAYER
Once the body has been prepared for burial, the funeral (Janazah) prayer is performed prior to the burial. The funeral prayer often takes place in/around a local Masjid/community center or can also be performed at the cemetery prior to burial.
How to perform the Janazah prayer?
Step 5: BURIAL
After the Janazah prayer has been completed, the body can now be buried. The cemetery services team will have the burial plot prepared.